Cover image for Advertising progress : American business and the rise of consumer marketing
Advertising progress : American business and the rise of consumer marketing
Laird, Pamela Walker, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md : The Johns Hopkins University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xiv, 479 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5813.U6 L34 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Drawing on both documentary and pictorial evidence, Pamela Walker Laird explores the modernization of American advertising to 1920. She links its rise and transformation to changes that affected American society and business alike, including the rise of professional specialization and the communications revolution that new technologies made possible. Laird finds a fundamental shift in the kinds of people who created advertisements and their relationships to the firms that advertised. Advertising evolved from the work of informing customers (telling people what manufacturers had to sell) to creating consumers (persuading people that they needed to buy). Through this story, Laird shows how and why -- in the intense competitions for both markets and cultural authority -- the creators of advertisements laid claim to "progress" and used it to legitimate their places in American business and culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Laird (history, Univ. of Colorado at Denver) asks why the motifs in advertising changed at the turn of this century, from producer-oriented portraits of business owners and sometimes their factories, to consumer-oriented messages emphasizing the benefits from purchase. The answer lies in good measure in the changes in markets, corporate ownership, advertising mediums, and most notably in the rise of advertising specialists. The effect of this transformation in advertising was a shift from informing customers to creating consumers. To lay out this argument, the author undertakes exhaustive research to document "the evolution of advertising content and styles along with the professionalization of advertising practices." Focusing on the period from 1870 to 1920, this book complements Daniel Pope's The Making of Modern Advertising (CH, Sep'83) and anticipates Roland Marchand's Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (CH, Ap'86). In addition to being a first-rate piece of research and writing, Advertising Progress contains plates of early advertisements, voluminous footnotes, an extended bibliography, and a note on sources. Recommended for public, academic, and professional library collections. D. Lindstrom; University of Wisconsin--Madison

Table of Contents

Pt. I Production as Progress
1 Marketing Problems and Advertising Methods as America Industrialized
2 Owner-Manager Control of Advertising
3 Printers, Advertisers, and Their Products
4 Advertising Progress as a Measure of Worth
PT. II Specialization as Progress
5 Early Advertising Specialists
6 Competition and Control: Business Conditions and Marketing Practices
7 The Competition to Modernize Advertising Services
PT. III Consumption as Progress
8 Taking Advertisements Toward Modernity
9 Modernity and Success: Legitimatizing the Advertising Profession - I
10 The Appropriation of Progress: Legitimatizing the Advertising Profession - II
Conclusion: Patrons, Agents, and the New Business of Progress